REVIEW: Saikano by Shin Takahashi, Vol. 1

Saikano, Volume 1 (Saikano)

Saikano, Vol.1 by Shin Takahashi is a bittersweet romance of ill-fated love set against the back drop of war.  How do you love somebody who is engineered to be a weapon? The description of the story is thus:

Shuji and Chise are high school seniors in a small town who have just started dating, when Shuji discovers that Chise has been engineered by the SDF so that she can transform herself into a powerful weapon. While Shuji and Chise keep trying to nurture their relationship, Chise continues to grow even more powerful as the Ultimate Weapon, and becomes increasingly torn between being a destructive fighting force and remaining an ordinary teenager. What do you do when the girl you love becomes a weapon of mass destruction?

In this installment, we learn that Chise has been engineered by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to be the ultimate weapon due to the current war. Each time she fights, she looses a little of her humanity. In normal life, apart from the war, Chise has a crush on  a boy named Shuji and their romance is bittersweet. Thus, you kinda know what’s going to happen and you know the outcome is not good.  I’ve yet to read the entire series but I did devour the first book and will seek out the others. The artwork is subtle and conveys an innocence against  a war that threatens to tear the couple apart. I was completely captivated by this novel. 

This was an easy read. The only down part about the story is that this is a ill-fated love story and we’re not privy to who it is Chise and the JSF are fighting against. Chise often has to go to war even when she doesn’t want to and there’s a desperation conveyed between the couple to keep Chise human and not have her completely turn into a weapon. A fear that grips them both and threatens their relationship. Unfortunately, Chise cannot hide nor leave her hometown. She doesn’t want Shuji to know her secret but the one time their together, she starts to transform in front of him, never having the opportunity to tell him first.  Often she comes back from conflicts battered and bruised. How much more of this can she stand? Will she survive the next time she is called to duty? Shuji is often left behind and worries about Chise. He cannot help her and can only love her and hope she makes it back alive. This book will be break my heart, I know, but some books like this are worth it, sometimes, you know? My grade, B.

[tags]Saikano by Shin Takahashi, Vol.1, Manga Review, Graphic Novel[/tags]

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